by John Leung

The university experience has a lot in common with Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Those that are able to survive it will thrive and those that cannot will fall by the wayside. That’s understandable when you consider that it’s a period when we, as young adults, begin to discover more about ourselves: we may find that post-secondary education isn’t for us or that our passions are beyond the limits of university.

A student might stay in university for only a year or until they graduate or maybe for ten years as they complete a PhD: regardless of the individual’s path, university is quite an adventure. I’d say, despite the struggles, it is an experience of a lifetime. I am sure that my fellow first year students will agree with me that there are some incomparable events that happen at university, and we will never forget them.

Tri-campus snowball fight, University of Toronto

The tri-campus snowball fight was one of the surreal events that I will never forget.

Whether you are a soon-to-be first-year college student or one that is in the midst of their post-secondary period, I hope that my university bucket list will enhance your experience. Without further ado, here’s a selection of eight “Must Do’s in University”.

1. Orientation

New College students at orientation

Orientation is a great way to get to know your peers!

Orientation can be very powerful for some students. Personally, I made some really great friends and it allowed me to feel comfortable within the U of T New College community. As well, you get to build some school pride as well as participate in some entertaining activities that are full of spirit. My New College Orientation in September included bed races, a street parade, a social night at the Royal Ontario Musem and much more.

2. Integrate yourself into the community

To make your time at university more meaningful, you should try to participate in activities that increase your engagement within U of T. This includes joining a school club, attending events hosted by student organizations, or playing intramurals – the list continues on!

3. Meet your don

Dons are amazing people, and sometimes more useful than registstrars or academic directors. With your don, you have the potential to build a meaningful bond. They can give you great adviceand connections, and they can be almost like an older sibling in the case where you are an only child.

takeout food

Dons are also great because they give free food during meetings!

4. Make some new friends

Obviously, everyone will have more friends on Facebook after attending university. But try to make some meaningful friends, friends who you will visit annually and catch up with every so often. Maybe these friends will be right beside you at your wedding one day!

5. Explore the city and do some travelling

food on plate

Discovering the city means finding good restaurants!

The best part of moving to a new city is the opportunity to discover the new surroundings. If you are done exploring the busy streets of Toronto, then I recommend to visit another nearby city such as Montreal, which is a 6-8 hour ride away on the Megabus.

6. Go out at night

This is a great way to build a stronger bond with your new university friends. When I talk about going out, it doesn’t have to be a club or a party. There are a lot of events that are only held once a year. Yonge-Dundas Square is a spot with constant events going on!

7. Take a unique class

Well, since we are in university and we pay thousands of dollars every year, we might as well take something interesting. As well, taking these unique classes helps students discover where their passion lies which may make a big difference to their POSt.


PSY100 was one of the classes I chose to take purely out of interest.

8. Get out of your comfort zone

As a young adult, this is the perfect chance to learn more about yourself – but this is a bit tricky because it involves getting out of your comfort zone. However, you can make this less alarming by taking small steps such as constantly trying new things. Getting out of your comfort zone may allow you to discover an interest or passion that you simply didn’t know about before.

I hope that I provided something meaningful in this post. Now it’s your turn: do you have any “must do’s” for students while they’re at university?